When we first started homeschooling about 13 years ago (my oldest is 13; I like to make myself look perspicacious by claiming I began homeschooling her from the moment I realized she was in my womb), I thought we were doing it because we were “holy.” Now I realize we do it because we are desperate – you know, intellectually desperate, theologically and spiritually desperate, socially desperate... Did I mention... we happen to be die-hard desperate? Just go ahead, slap a “D” on my forehead. Maybe it will cover up some of the wrinkles homeschooling has so kindly ingrained up there. To top it off, each year we stick to homeschooling, the blazing reality of our desperation becomes more and more apparent. And this, my friends, is what I have come to realize is actually a mighty good thing – it keeps us in the game when the going gets tough.
The more blatantly Biden-esque, morbidly myopic, AR-15-friendly, and “Friday the 13th-ish” the public schools start looking, the more desperate we loving parents become to find an alternative way to educate our children.
The more blatantly Biden-esque, morbidly myopic, AR-15-friendly, and “Friday the 13th-ish” the public schools start looking, the more desperate we loving parents become to find an alternative way to educate our children. Something deep inside of us desires to dowse our children's minds with the real deal stuff – you know, by filling their impressionable little minds with highly graphic stories of red martyrdom; by reading AA-1025: Memoirs of the Communist Infiltration into the Church to them out loud while chowing down on caramel popcorn; by training them how to stun and silence a Jehovah Witness at their door in two minutes flat; and last but certainly not least, by making sure they have the Ottaviani Intervention memorized, word for word.
Furthermore, another one of our top real reasons for homeschooling again this year has to do with the increasingly bizarre climate of social desperation which seems to hijacking America at an alarming rate. Don't get me wrong – personally, I have a healthy, flourishing social life... well, at least the potential to have one, if I had the time. I have always been hip, and cool people have always liked me. For example, one of the guys that had a crush on me in college is now an incredibly famous neo-pagan folk singer. He is always on world tours, wears gargantuan butterfly wings when he performs, has at least a dozen pages dedicated to his story of fame on Wikipedia, and writes the most moving songs about miserable little kittens that have asthma.
Anyhow, my point is, we love homeschooling because it nurtures a healthy social life. Instead of having members of the “Furry Fandom” subculture who hyperventilate when they are not physically adjacent to their cell phone as classmates, I am pleased to announce that my children spend their days alongside “unplugged” human beings who do not pretend to have frighteningly obvious animal characteristics (unless you count the times my sons are making inappropriate noises in the living room, just for barbaric kicks).
As a homeschooling family, we make Our Creator's world come vibrantly alive before our eyes by unwrapping His gifts, like classic literature, detective games, the Council of Trent and the Baltimore Catechism, artistic masterpieces and good ol' homemade, hands-on messes.
To top it off, I am desperate to be friends with my children as well. Yes, you heard me right. I enjoy being with my children during the day and I do not have too many screws “loose” as far as I know (and no, I do not have personal references to verify this fact, thank you very much). I cherish the moments I have with them, good and bad, and when I crash on my pillow at night, I usually wish I had had more time to spend with each child that day, even though we were “with” each other all day long. If it weren't for homeschooling, we would miss out on the tens of thousands of hours of quality time we have spent together over the years – time spent listening to Handel's Messiah together; time hunting and butchering deer; time laughing over Mrs. Thorpe's idiosyncrasies in the Mitchell's: Five for Victory book series; time taking nature hikes and praying None in Latin before nap time. As a homeschooling family, we make Our Creator's world come vibrantly alive before our eyes by unwrapping His gifts, like classic literature, detective games, the Council of Trent and the Baltimore Catechism, artistic masterpieces and good ol' homemade, hands-on messes.
Our children only have one childhood, and that childhood is taking place now – not later, not some day when we have more time to pay attention to it. The window of time that we have to raise our children is so narrow in the light of eternity. As St. Thérèse of Lisieux once said, “We only have today!” From the earliest days of Christendom, parents have relied on “homeschooling” in various forms to bring their children to know the loving mercy of Christ and the doctrines of our Holy Faith. In 1994, Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., wrote in The Catholic Family's Magnificat Magazine:
How do we know that homeschooling is necessary? First, we know it from divine revelation. The early Church is normative not only on what we should believe as Catholics but on how we ought to learn our faith...and live it. There were not established Catholic schools in the Roman Empire back in the first 300 years of the Church's history. Except for parents becoming, believing, and being heroic Catholics in the early Church, nothing would have happened. The Church would have died out before the end of the first century.
Believing parents who desire to be American patriots in the most authentic sense of the word choose the homeschooling way of life not just to be faithful Catholics, but also to celebrate what it means to be a family living in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
These days, believing parents who desire to be American patriots in the most authentic sense of the word choose the homeschooling way of life not just to be faithful Catholics, but also to celebrate what it means to be a family living in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” As Fr. Hardon continues:
Homeschooling in the United States is the necessary concomitant of a culture in which the Church is being opposed on every level of her existence and, as a consequence, given the widespread secularization in our country, homeschooling is not only valuable or useful but it is absolutely necessary for the survival of the Catholic church in our country. Homeschooling, in our country, is that form of teaching and training of children at home in order to preserve the Catholic faith in the family, and to preserve the Catholic faith in our country.
When the end of August hits, I hope many of us choose to homeschool, and choose it for the right reasons – no matter how daunting it may appear. Anyhow, what's there to lose, but our earthly sanity?
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